The Impact of Video on Player Development

The cen­tral focus of any team revolves around devel­op­ing talent.

The Impact of Video on Player Development

The cen­tral focus of any team revolves around devel­op­ing talent.

All coach­es aim to bring out the best in their play­ers. They seek to ensure strides made through devel­op­ment on the prac­tice pitch and in the class­room trans­late to on-field success.

That’s the basic mean­ing of play­er devel­op­ment, but what it means to each spe­cif­ic team can vary. Each coach­ing staff might have dif­fer­ent ideas on how to exe­cute their phi­los­o­phy. So we asked coach­es from across the globe what play­er devel­op­ment means to them, and specif­i­cal­ly what aspects of video analy­sis helps them gauge progress.

These are the key take­aways from those conversations.

Encourage players to make objective development targets on their own

All coach­es need to pro­vide tan­gi­ble feed­back to play­ers. That’s a giv­en. But the biggest changes play­ers make hap­pen when they can iden­ti­fy those areas that need improve­ment on their own before you bring it to their attention.

That’s when real devel­op­ment occurs. 

Chris Knowles, the first-team man­ag­er at Hartpury College enables his play­ers to make objec­tive obser­va­tions about their lev­el of play through video. We real­ly pushed them [this year] to iden­ti­fy areas that they can improve them­selves,” Knowles said.

I’ve already got an idea, sub­jec­tive­ly, what we’ve done, but then it’s about link­ing how I think we’ve done to how we’ve actu­al­ly done [with video].”

At Sparsholt College in England — the loca­tion of Southampton FC’s sec­ond chance pro­gram — the staff have play­ers iden­ti­fy pre-match objec­tives based on devel­op­ment prin­ci­ples they high­light in train­ing dur­ing the week. It’s all in an effort to engage play­ers in their own development.

I encour­age them to watch the game so that when they come in they can ana­lyze exact­ly how they did on those indi­vid­ual tar­gets,” said Lewis Benson, lead coach at Sparsholt College. I find that they real­ly buy into that. They’re real­ly keen to watch them­selves back. The fact that I can actu­al­ly say that they’ve done some­thing well, or they’ve done some­thing not so well and they can actu­al­ly vis­i­bly see that them­selves using Hudl is so valu­able to myself and to them.”

The staff then uti­lizes video in post-match review ses­sions to talk through each objec­tive with the team and indi­vid­ual play­ers. I’ve already got an idea, sub­jec­tive­ly, what we’ve done, but then it’s about link­ing how I think we’ve done to how we’ve actu­al­ly done [with video],” said Benson.

Setting objec­tive mea­sure­ments for suc­cess with your play­ers can help them to focus on spe­cif­ic devel­op­ment met­rics that you, as their teacher, can use to track their progress.

Streamline your process

The process of com­mu­ni­cat­ing feed­back direct­ly to your play­ers should be seam­less and effi­cient. As the above exam­ple with Sparsholt demon­strates, when you can effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate feed­back to your play­ers in an effi­cient man­ner, it enhances the process overall.

In terms of a tool for devel­op­ing play­ers, there’s no bet­ter tool,” said Matthew Taylor, for­mer first-team man­ag­er at Hartpury College and cur­rent U23 coach at Exeter City. You go into train­ing ses­sions and game sit­u­a­tions where it’s hec­tic. Lads are affect­ed by what’s going on around them. In a class­room, they can just see it on the screen and see the actu­al move­ments or what they with the ball from a pos­ses­sion­al sense.

It’s a great learn­ing tool for the young play­ers to devel­op their knowl­edge of the game.”

Many coach­es advo­cat­ed for empha­siz­ing spe­cif­ic moments in match­es and train­ing where they are look­ing for play­ers to improve. You can say, Look there’s your clips from two months ago.’ It’s real­ly easy to find and pull up, then you can see where [they] are now,” said Matt Murray, first-team assis­tant man­ag­er at the Nike Academy. So you can look at how much they’ve improved in tak­ing cross­es, ball receiv­ing skills, fin­ish­ing with the left foot, all of those things.

Its there and it’s a visu­al aid that’s real­ly help­ful for the lads.”

Video is the barometer to measure improvement

How you choose to imple­ment video with­in your coach­ing is up to you. But ulti­mate­ly, if you have all of the tools in place, devel­op­ment will fol­low. It’s about set­ting your­self up to take advan­tage with the tools you have at your disposal.

I’m not a big fan of look­ing at eval­u­a­tion where you put num­bers to cer­tain skills,” said Neil Hope of Omaha FC. Like, Susie is a 1 out of 5 with her left foot,’ or what­ev­er. There’s no mark­er for that. The video doesn’t lie. It’s you show­ing it. With the video, we told them to address a sim­ple thing, and if we nev­er would’ve shown that they would’ve nev­er known.”

So, how do they sug­gest you get start­ed?

I’d advise them to keep it sim­ple to start with,” said Mikey Harris, Portsmouth Academy devel­op­ment coach. Any infor­ma­tion that you gath­er, you must know why you want it and what you’re going to use it for in terms of feed­back to the players.

Have a clear ratio­nale behind what you want them to learn from it, how you want them to use it and then make it a part of your week­ly pro­gram because the ben­e­fits are clear for all to see.”

Get involved in the con­ver­sa­tion and tell us how you use video to assess play­er devel­op­ment